Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Adirondack Regional Economic Analysis Released

regional economic analysisWhat’s growing? Where should we invest? The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and regional partners set out to answer these and other questions facing North Country communities by completing an economic analysis of the entire 14-county Adirondack North Country region.

Findings from the research are now publicly available.

ANCA and collaborators recently released the report, Regional Economic Analysis for the Adirondack North Country, which documents economic trends in the region and opportunities for local investment, as well as county-level demographic and economic data. The full report is available on ANCA’s website at www.adirondack.org/RegionalEconomicAnalysis.

“Many of us whose work focuses on growing local economies, revitalizing downtowns and protecting our natural and cultural assets felt we needed more information to guide our work,” said ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish in an announcement of the report’s release sent to the press. “We wanted to have a data-driven analysis to help focus where we need to be investing our collective resources and where the highest priority opportunities are for turning around our local and regional economies.”

ANCA and ten area nonprofit, academic and corporate partners contracted with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship to conduct the one-year study during 2017 and 2018. The study was designed to identify opportunities for job growth and business expansion and provide recommendations for leveraging regional strengths.

Research findings are expected to help inform the strategic planning and financial investments of foundations, nonprofits and other entities that are leading economic development efforts in northern New York.

According to the report, three opportunities emerged from the analysis as top potential areas for growth: tourism, manufacturing and an agriculture sector that features local foods and value-added products. The study suggests that these three focus areas are most likely to succeed in communities that support existing businesses and new entrepreneurs, as well as natural resource conservation.

The study found that while the population in the region is growing overall with some variation from county to county, the North Country is losing its 20- to 34-year-olds. According to the analysis, strategies to attract this age group should focus on quality of life and “placemaking”—where young people and families can experience vibrant and livable communities with strong connections to the surrounding area. Central to the concept of placemaking is the development of niche or “crafted” manufacturing—a responsive manufacturing industry that focuses on small-run, customized and place-based goods produced by local makers. Examples include the growing areas of craft beverage manufacturing and value-added local food products.

Data and recommendations from the analysis are already being used by regional organizations.

Findings related to the so-called “silver tsunami”—the potential loss of over 10,000 North Country businesses due to the retirement of Baby Boomers—directly informed the development of ANCA’s new North Country Center for Businesses in Transition. The Center is a partnership of regional organizations whose collaborative efforts to support North Country businesses will begin this year. The program will assist retiring business owners as well as aspiring entrepreneurs in successfully sustaining local businesses for the benefit of their communities and future generations.

Findings from the study are also helping shape Mohawk Valley Community College’s “thINCubator,” a makerspace that provides a place for meetings, presentations and workshops as well as co-working space for students, freelancers and entrepreneurs. The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is a foundation partner for the thINCubator project and the regional economic analysis.

Funding organizations for the analysis include ANCA, Adirondack Foundation, the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, National Grid, Adirondack Council, Clarkson University, Farm Credit East, Paul Smith’s College, St. Lawrence University, SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam.

The full report, as well as economic profiles for the Adirondack North Country’s 14 counties, is publicly available and can be viewed at www.adirondack.org/RegionalEconomicAnalysis. A follow-up survey will be sent to community groups in order to gather information about how they use the report and to serve as a baseline for measuring its impact on economic development efforts in the North Country.

ANCA, a leading partner in this collaborative effort, is an independent nonprofit organization growing the New Economy in northern New York. Using an integrated approach to sustainable economic development and prosperity where economic health, community vitality and ecological stewardship are equally important outcomes, ANCA focuses on creating opportunity for people with diverse backgrounds, experience and education levels.

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17 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Tough situtation…. I read a lot of these reports and they all recommend the same thing: some vague “entrepreneurship” involving makerspace, tech hub, co-working…. but very, very few (like none) of those are successful anywhere else.

  2. Paul says:

    The report say that the population is “growing overall”l but the data indicate that the net growth in the past 16 years was a 784 people. Seem statistically like no growth. Maybe we are lucky to be flat.

    Figure 3 page 28 – “population growth”

  3. Bill Quinlivan says:

    Inside the Blue Line, manufacturing as a means of growth is relatively limited– even more so that it is nationally. And, let’s face it, how many young people are looking for careers in manufacturing? Instead, broad band expansion offers much greater opportunity to begin to target young entrepreneurs interested in moving service oriented business,( i.e., public relations/advertising, medical education, freelance writing services, blog publishers, customer service centers, etc) to the Adirondacks. It would afford the growth of good paying jobs in more sophisticated and clean businesses; make our area a more viable place to live and work for people of childbearing age helping to fill up our schools and build our tax revenue base. I just see little hope in manufacturing providing what is needed for an economic upturn for our towns in the Blue Line.

    • Hope says:

      Yes! Young people have the opportunity to work remotely. I know quite a few folks with 2nd homes who come much more often because they can finally work remotely from their main offices. Many of them are young folks based in large cities but love to come to the Adirondacks and they usually meet up with friends who may have never been here before and take them around. High quality broadband is to the rural economy that the telephone line was back in the day.

      • Tim says:

        Overall, internet is very poor in the North Country, hence few young people. Lots of talk, few results.

  4. Boreas says:

    The $174M settlement against Charter/Spectrum could have gone a long way toward getting more infrastructure within the Park. Unfortunately, the settlement is allowing them to weasel out of any major cash outlays by offering refunds and temporary service upgrades to existing customers that did not receive what was promised. While I suppose this decision is fair to existing customers, penalties could possibly have been an opportunity to push more infrastructure into the interior since in many areas up here they are the ONLY cable provider. But as usual, we are small potatoes up here in the North Country.

    That being said, people should be careful what they wish for. Broadband internet/cable/phone is neither cheap or trouble free. But it is a definite real estate liability if it is not available – especially for businesses.

  5. Paul says:

    Good broadband is essential. If the pony express doesn’t go through your town it won’t be a town for much longer.

  6. Luke says:

    That’s the first time I’ve heard the term “silver tsunami”. I am surprised by that number, 10,000, relating to the number of businesses that might be lost due to the retirement of baby boomers. If a business is profitable, a business succession plan shouldn’t be that difficult to implement. A successful business can usually be passed on to the children, if they’re interested. If they’re not, an attractive enterprise can solicit buy-outs from outside the family. Then the major concern would be financing. Again, a money making business can either self fund the transition, or look for a loan from a lending institution or venture capitalist.
    So I think that number is over estimated.

    • Boreas says:


      The way I read it, that reference states “north country”, not the Adirondack Park. I guess it would depend on what they consider the north country.

    • Paul says:

      I don’t think too many VC’s are investing in mom and pop shops in the Adirondacks!

  7. adkDreamer says:

    I found the reports in their entirety, essentially useless. Most of the information presented is well known, represents the standard rural situation that has been present for decades and simply re-packages the data in endless graphs of nothingness complete with general lecture-style section introductions complimented with in-actionable information.

    What the report fails to provide is the present reality: No matter how many so called reports, graphs and categories of uselessness are created, starting a business in the North County is difficult, the services provided by businesses are almost invariably small secondary businesses (support) and not large primaries (create) and do not employ or attract/retain large volumes of young people or wealth.

  8. Charlie S says:

    Paul says: “Good broadband is essential…”

    Until the electric goes out, or a satellite is shut down. Then what? We’re like lost little children, not knowing which way is up! We’re going to pay for this eventually…this over- dependence on technology which is controlled, and will be moreso in the future, by so few corporations. We’re getting too far ahead of ourselves and leaving the simple way of doing things behind, which now and again comes to haunt us and surely will come to haunt us moreso in the future. Ever be in a store when their computerized systems failed? They cannot serve you! That’s happened to me a few times already. Very odd I must say!

    • Paul says:

      Humans have and always will be dependent on technology. Unless you want to get by with a much smaller and sicker and sadder number of people. Just where we are now.

  9. Big Burly says:

    For as long as the NYS DEC is in control of what will or will not be developed inside the Blue Line, the 14 counties served by ANCA will continue to wither. The folks in DEC are expert in managing the natural assets, but not economic development. Where is the NYS ESD when they are needed? The numbers of those who can afford to own land/businesses inside the Park are small by comparison to what could be possible. The comment by the person named Hope is anecdotal and likely a small sample since widely available broadband with short ping is years away / if ever in most communities within the Blue Line. The comment by Boreas is bang on regarding the missed opportunity in the Charter Comm settlement. Perhaps an enlightened entrepreneur will be inspired by this analysis and projection in one of the counties and will create a sustainable enterprise. It is to be hoped for.

  10. Charlie S says:

    “Humans have and always will be dependent on technology. ”

    Yeah but….. not the computer-driven technology we have nowadays Paul, the information storage technology that seems to have many of us in a daze and is not necessarily for the better in many cases. We don’t need a GPS to get from Anastasia to Zimmerman but we choose to go that route because we’ve lost that adventurous spirit in us, we’d rather depend on a device than use our conscious intellectual energy which is the way it was always done up until Pac Man, or thereabouts. This is just one per instance! Due to all of this new technology a strange effect is taking shape out there Paul. Or haven’t you noticed?

    • Paul says:

      Charlie, I do like to come here to get a dose of your pessimism about the world once and awhile to help tame my spirits!

      Lot’s of adventurous spirit in the people I get to associate with. Guess I am lucky enough to be living in a place that has that. Lots of young people with lots of great ideas everyday. Many of them need those evil computers to do the amazing work they are doing.

      Don’t worry folks – there are lots of optimistic people in the Adirondacks too, don’t let some of these comments scare you away from the place. Charlie, have a fun and adventurous weekend!

  11. Charlie S says:

    Me speakum truth Paul. And I’m an optimist by the way, I’m the one who fell ten stories…. at each window bar I hollered to my friends, ‘alright so far!’

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